Rodeo to raise funds for building

Hooves of Hope near Potomac uses horses in its therapy sessions with children who have experienced some sort of trauma.

POTOMAC — Hooves of Hope is ready to allow both children and adults alike to cowboy up and ride.

For children, that will mean climbing onto the backs of real, live, bucking sheep; for adults, a mechanical bull, at Saturday's Rodeo Round Up.

The fundraiser, scheduled for 4-8 p.m. at 7757 U.S. Route 136, Potomac, is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Hooves of Hope and Gateway Family Services.

"We want the community to know that their donations are going toward two causes that are truly changing lives," said Michael Remole, COO and lead therapist with Gateway.

The primary focus of this year's rodeo is to raise enough funds to finish classroom construction at the equine facility.

The 2,000-square foot building will contain office space, a play-therapy room, sensory room, kitchen and woodworking shop. The frame is up now, but the interiors need work, including electrical and HVAC.

"Right now, we're at a standstill until we can get the next phase of the project done," Remole said.

The complete project is likely to cost a little over $100,000.

At Saturday's rodeo, the Golf Ball Toss will give 100 percent of its funds raised to the building project.

Participants can purchase golf balls — one for $5, or five for $20. At 6:30 p.m., the golf balls will be thrown into the horse arena where three different horse shoes will lay in the dirt. Whoever gets their ball closest to each will win a prize of $1,000, $500 or $250.

For the younger wranglers, mutton bustin' returns again. However, this year, riders will be limited to the first 75 participants to register at the rodeo. Riders must be below 50 pounds.

Older participants will want to climb onto the back of the mechanical bull.

Bull riders must be 12 years old or older, and purchase a ticket for $10.

Other activities will include stick horse barrel racing, steer ribbon pulling and bounce houses. Food trucks will also be available.

Admission to the rodeo is $2 per person at the gate, with a $5 registration fee for children and adults to participate in rodeo activities. Parking will be available at the Potomac grade school.

Hooves of Hope began in 2011 as a volunteer-based mentoring program. The non-profit partners kids with horses to learn life virtues, connect them with a wrangler, teach horsemanship and bring them into a relationship with God.

In 2014, Remole started the counseling portion to provide help to children who have experienced trauma.

This program provides counseling to 70 families per week.

For more information, visit www.HOHRODEO.com.

"It should be a good time," Remole said, "between the inflatables and everything, our families really enjoy the time and it's a good cause — making sure people have access to mental health services — and it's just a solid program giving back to the community."

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